Religion is an imaginative construct -- a work of art, if you will -- but it differs from other narratives in its social impact. It gives hope of resurrection, salvation, and ultimate justice. It comforts with an anthropocentric view of an otherwise alien or even hostile universe. It soothes with repetition and communal ritual. Because it claims divine origin, it insulates itself -- and believers -- from mere mortal criticism. These elements create a powerful mythic cultural glue which enhances social unity -- and which -- historically -- has enabled tribal survival.

At the heart of its power lies certainty -- which is both its inspirational strength and its moral weakness: while inspiring faith with claims of infallibility and moral purity -- it allows the commission of unconscionable evils in its promulgation and defence. Reason requires that, in the absence of evidence, religion should deny certainty -- but this is like asking the dictator to renounce power, the charlatan to proclaim his deceptions, the predator to give warning to its prey.(Observation #1922)


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